Top U.S. Cable Operators Form Java Community Process Expert Group

5/6/2004 - Top U.S. cable operators and technology providers jointly announced the formation of a Java Community Process (JCP) Expert Group (EG) to develop a new Java technology-based digital television API standard - OnRamp to OCAP - targeted at legacy, resource-constrained cable television set-top boxes. CableLabs, Charter, Cox, GoldPocket, Liberate, Motorola, Philips, Sun Microsystems, Time Warner Cable, and Vidiom Systems are working together as members of the Expert Group to define the new specification.

Upon finalization of the specification (JSR 242), OnRamp to OCAP, a profile of the J2ME CLDC technology specification, will be available to all set-top box vendors, DTV application developers and service providers.

"We are very excited that the cable industry is continuing to work together toward its goal of developing an industry standard for the development of interactive programming," said Lisa Shankle, vice president of ITV and VOD for The Weather Channel. "This will help save time and development cost, enabling us to launch robust interactive services quickly."

"OnRamp will make the interactive TV environment available on millions of legacy set-top boxes, allowing our industry to compete with iTV services deployed by DBS," said Chris Bowick, senior vice president of engineering and CTO for Cox. "OnRamp is a subset of OCAP and applications written to OnRamp will be forward compatible with our OCAP enabled devices. Cox wants to thank the other cable operators and vendors involved in the OnRamp Experts Group and others in the industry for their past and ongoing support of the OnRamp effort."

"There's a virtuous cycle in the Java ecosystem. Java technology is in over quarter billion mobile handsets. This massive volume has enabled a dynamic, worldwide ecosystem of developers, applications, and services. This vibrancy results in significant additional revenue for mobile operators and increased customer satisfaction for subscribers," said Alan Brenner, vice president, Consumer and Mobile Systems Group for Sun Microsystems. "A new J2ME-based standard for resource-constrained cable set-top boxes brings these same benefits to the cable industry, while paving the way for full adoption of the OCAP standard on new devices."

OnRamp is a Java technology-based middleware platform targeted at the legacy set-top boxes that are currently deployed in large numbers by U.S. cable companies. It will bring digital television applications including video on demand, enhanced program guides and interactivity to set-top boxes incapable of running OCAP - OpenCable Applications Platform - allowing the widespread deployment of these applications even before OCAP set-top boxes become common. In the future, most set-top boxes and digital cable-ready televisions will be built to the OCAP specification to allow the cable industry to deploy a wider range of more sophisticated interactive services.

The availability of a standards-based platform will help enable cable operators to save time and money when launching new applications and services to over 30 million set-top box users in North America. As OnRamp to OCAP is a subset of OCAP, applications developed for this platform will be compatible with the full OCAP specification, providing service providers an effective bridge technology before OCAP set-top boxes become widely deployed.

A demonstration of an OnRamp to OCAP implementation will be held at Liberate Technologies' suite at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel during the NCTA conference (May 3 - 5, New Orleans). The demonstration will consist of a set of applications from third parties, including The Weather Channel and Buzztime, demonstrating interoperability between set-top boxes running OCAP and those running prototype OnRamp to OCAP middleware.

About the Java Community Process
Since its introduction in 1998 as the open, inclusive process to develop and revise Java technology specifications, reference implementations, and technology compatibility kits, the Java Community Process program has fostered the evolution of the Java platform in cooperation with the international Java developer community.

The JCP has over 700 company and individual participants; more than 200 Java technology specifications are in development in the JCP program out of which 46% are in final stages. For more information on the JCP program, please visit

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun Logo, Java, J2EE, and J2ME are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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